I'm about to start the third full day of portfolio reviews for Photolucida in Portland.  If you aren't familiar, Photolucida is a wonderful photography festival that hosts portfolio reviews every other year.  For four days, photographers sit with a wide range of industry professionals for 20 minutes at a time to get feedback on their work, and hopefully opportunities for exhibition and publication. Yesterday I was on a sequencing tear.  It seemed that so many photographers I met with had not paid enough attention to the order the images were in.  I cannot stress enough how the sequence can make or break the edit in a portfolio.  So I felt inspired to think about advice that would help a photographer think about how to best sequence their work -

Quite simply, the flow needs to work.  Let the story unfold in a clear, logical way that makes sense as the viewer moves from one image to another.  Make sure you are telling the complete story without hiccups (images that take the viewer off-track) or holes.  Allow the viewer to move seamlessly through the work.  Keep a consistent vibe and feeling, building a narrative or emotional arc without disrupting the viewer’s eyes or emotions.

In addition to considering a logical ordering strategy (chronological, narrative, etc.), pay attention to aesthetic qualities in the photographs.  Colors and shapes can bridge transitions between images and create a smooth flow.  Less obvious connections also create an interesting sequence.  Consider what associations a straight read of an image bring to mind and what other image in the series creates a logical link to it.

Looking for help tightening your project?  Read more here.

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